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One thing’s for sure: Nothing’s for sure.
DIGITAL MOOD SWINGS
Year-End Swamis Ponder Technology Ups And Downs
Internet applications are destroying traditional media! Online entertainment sites are gathering record traffic! There are no feasible business models for consumer sites! Millions of consumers are hungry for convergence toys! The Nasdaq is plunging and netcos are poison! Gizmo sales are up… no, they're down… okay, they're up again! It's the Christmas of e-commerce! It's a Black Christmas!

Feeling dizzy? Be glad you're not an ink-stained wretch working the online-entertainment beat.

We few, we happy few, have been poring over a schizophrenia-inducing array of forecasts, huzzahs, lamentations and divinations as the year winds to its hype-clogged close—and one thing's for sure: Nothing's for sure.

But hey, maybe it won't matter. According to a report from Europe's Economic and Social Research Council, waning interest in the Net among teens in the UK and Ireland suggests this whole digital thing might be just "a fad."

The interim report, drawing on two years of research from the University of Warwick's ESRC-funded Virtual Society project, shows that users in the region have decreased the frequency of their online access following the spectacular growth spurt of a couple of years ago. Preferred activities cited by research subjects include boiling vegetables, soccer violence and waiting for beer to reach room temperature.

Meanwhile, the finance wizards at Motley Fool offered a rosy picture of the admittedly beleaguered digital-music scene, thanks to the growth of MP3 as a format and the proliferation of doodads that work with it and various settlements between dot-coms and major labels.

Marveling at the space's "amazing year," the site's digimusic crystal-baller, Rick Munarriz, prognosticated: "Expect strong growth from the device makers in the year ahead. Expect the music content sites to prosper under these freshly inked industry agreements. It's time to finally get amped up about digital music. This time, it goes to 11." The Spinal Tap reference might not be misplaced, Rick, if you think the "agreements" signed thus far mean smooth sailing for anybody. But at least you can't go to jail for using a Rio player.

Let's hope Rick's got his trembling finger on the pulse of the new economy, because now there's a special domain designation for music sites that could make "dot-com" go the way of the rotary phone.

Yep, now your site can be a "dot-MU." You know, for, like, dot-music.

Who cares, you ask? Well, the company behind the .MU charge, SamsDirect Internet (SDI), sure does. Just ask Chairman/CEO David Sams: "Dot-MU offers artists, labels and anyone with a passion for music the opportunity not only to reserve valuable domain names that are important to their businesses, but to stand out from the very cluttered dot-com market as well. Best of all, I stand to make some dough from this racket."

The curious can register at www.hot.mu and grab a domain for a mere $50 per year. A two-year minimum fee paid up front and various other charges apply. We're thinking of grabbing cowsgo.mu.

The Industry Standard's 12/4 roundup of e-tail dispatches finds overall online sales are up for Grinchmas, despite the gloomy guesses from gloomy Guses in the media. Reporter David Sims (who, we're almost certain, is not a pseudonym of David Sams) cites News.com's declaration that "e-commerce is hot again." Of course, not every digital merchant is thriving, but considering the apocalyptic scenarios being floated over the last few Nasdaq-dunking months, there's cause for cautious rejoicing.

A bit more long-term wisdom comes from the purdy new Inside magazine, in which Big Kahuna Kurt Anderson comments on the extremes of commentary on the subject, as the "manic euphoria" of the late ‘90s Net boom gives way to the "manic dysphoria" of the present.

Anderson advises music Netrepreneurs to "embrace paradox" and reminds us that the Gold Rush was less about the discovery of gold than the discovery of California. From the heart of Sherman Oaks, Kurt, thanks a bunch.

 

 

 

 

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